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The Bhopal disaster—night of December 3, 1984—was the worst industrial disaster in the history of the world: the leakage of 40 tons of methyl isocianate (MIC) recorded at the plant that Union Carbide India, Limited (UCIL) had in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, one of the poorest and most overpopulated states in India. There were 6,903 dead, approximately 20,000 injured, and almost another 850,000 seriously affected in different ways.

Union Carbide Corporation occupied third place in the ranking of the chemical sector in the United States. It had assets of over $10,000 million and around 110,000 employees. Nevertheless, it underwent the worst financial situation in recent years: Net profits plummeted from $310 million in 1982 to $79 million in 1983.

Why did the disaster occur? The ...

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